The clamour for glamour puts grunge in its place
BY DAY it's flares and platforms but when the lights go down it is goodbye grunge and hello glam. Never has there been such a rush to restore glamour to fashion.
With the recession afflicting much of the world, the first cutbacks were glitter and gold - and then came grunge.
Grunge taught us not only to recycle our old clothes but other people's charity shop cast-offs.
But now, after two seasons of hippy chic, two seasons of being told not to wash your hair, two seasons of looking drab and dowdy, women are saying enough is enough - they simply want to be gorgeous again.
Making the transition back to glamour is not hard for many of the territory's women.
Hongkong has always been low on eccentric dressing and high on style. The shops are filled with dresses that are clingy, slinky and sexy.
Forget the fashion plates in the glossy magazines that often only appeal to die hard fashion victims, women know what they look good in - and it is often the traditional shapes favoured by the film stars of the '50s.
Hongkong women have become increasingly more glamorous, matching the flair of Europe and even the runaway glitz of the Americans.
They are legendary for their love of dressing up - the willingness to attend black-tie functions at any opportunity is evidence of that.
On the international catwalks Gianni Versace is still king of ''glam'' - which is certainly reflected in his prices - while Britain's Vivienne Westwood offers a whacky alternative.
Her last collection was in the vanguard of the glamour gang and revived the '40s.
And since Westwood is said to lead the fashion pack, anything she puts on the catwalk is watched by the fashion editors with undivided attention.
One of Hongkong's most respected designers, William Tang, believes glamour has always been a part of the territory's life.
''Grunge has only infiltrated their wardrobes as day fashion.
''And the rich women did not really go for grunge, it was more a thing picked up by younger people as well as those in show business.
''It never took off here as it did in the United States. We saw a much more watered down version,'' he said.
''Here, many people attend evening functions, it is an essential part of Hongkong life. Grunge would never be taken all the way through until the evening.
''Versace is probably the most popular look for the tai tais.
''They love the loudness of his dresses. They love the glamour of these dresses.'' said Tang.
''The typical evening dress in Hongkong will be shimmering. There will be gold somewhere even if it's the buttons. The shoulders will be bare.
''It will be low cut and breasts are given prominence. Shoes are high but Asian women are even wearing platforms in the ballroom because they need that extra height,'' he said.
This season, like most others, the evening dress comes in all shapes and forms.
The silhouettes run from full skirts and boned bodices to curvy, tailored cocktail dresses and suits that shimmer.
This is also the time to invest in an evening dress as the sales provide cut-price garments which will last more than one season.
Model: Almen from Catwalk.
Hair: By Ricky Kwok, Le Salon Orient.
Location: Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.